How to Make Inexpensive Garden Container Soil: Organic Fertilizer, Lime, Peat Moss, Compost & Dirt

Publié par Gary Pilarchik le

by Gary Pilarchik (The Rusted Gardener)

Do not get fooled into thinking you need to buy expensive container/potting mixes for your container vegetable or flower gardens. There is nothing magical about the base ingredients they use that you can't buy separately, mix and make something as good if not better.

Why make your own container mixes? It will save you a ton of money that you can use in your garden in other ways and you can tweak your recipe, based on the needs of your garden. For instance, high summer heat... add more peat moss, coco coir or water retaining organic matter. And perhaps the best reason, you know what is going into your mixes!

First point, compost is king. Compost you make from leaves, grass cuttings and food scraps is probably the best container soil out there. However, most of us can't make enough to meet our needs or don't have the space to make our own. Second point, the bags labelled 'Potting Mix' are typically made up of 5 things; peat moss, fine wood chips, soil perlite and fertilizer. Sometimes they, but rarely, will contain vermiculite. When you read, "special formulation for moisture control" that means peat moss 99/100 times.

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The video shows you products you can buy (with prices) to blend you own container mixes at a fraction of the cost compared to buying straight bagged  potting mixes. You can also use this for your raised beds and again, you don't have to pay a lot for bags that say "formulated for your raised beds." Those products work and are convenient if you don't have time to make your own. 

The basic recipe is 1 part peat moss to 1 part soil from your garden or the cheap 40 pound bag of top soil from stores. The key is 50% organic matter (peat moss) for water retention. You can substitute coco coir for peat moss if you wish or make a blend. The video shows you how to add lime and fertilizer to the mix. The 'Premium Recipe' is the addition of bagged manure, compost or hopefully your own compost. It would be 1 part peat moss, 1 part soil, 1 part compost. This builds a great base for container mixes that work well as mixed or you can tweak it for your needs and desires. Adding more stuff is always fun.



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10 commentaires

  • I would like to respectfully ask that this blog take a serious look at its stance on the use of peat moss. Peat bogs grow very slowly and sequester massive quantities of carbon from our shared atmosphere. Additionally, the harvesting of these dwindling bogs is a huge contributor to greenhouse gas emissions. If you do a bit of research, you will discover that this is in not only true but alarmingly dangerous for our planet’s increasingly fragile ecosystem. Please consider that by encouraging gardeners to amend their soil with this precious natural resource, you may be inadvertently contribution to a much larger global, environmental crisis. I am reaching out with this respectful request because I respect your blog and would like to see a greater focus on sustainability on this topic amongst gardening advocates and educators. Kind regards, Melissa

    Melissa le
  • Nice information on organic fertilizer. keep updating such types of posts.
    We are Manufacturers and Repackers of 100% Natural & Organic Fertilizers

    naveen kumar le
  • Useful Information, your blog is sharing unique information….
    Thanks for sharing!!!
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    afrobas le
  • Love your vids. My challenge is writing it all down when watching your vids. E.G.. “Princiles of growing container tomatoes…”, 7/12/15. Think about including details here or on YouTube in comments. Would save us viewers a lot of time.
    Keep those vids coming!

  • awesome ! thanks for sharing!

    Wayne le

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